Mulder: The Buck Shoots Straight Past Me

Thousands of regular commuters on the Geelong line have had their travel plans massively disrupted on numerous occasions over the last couple of months, with signal and power failures shutting the line for hours at a time.

People – (quite rightly) – have been complaining long and hard about it. It is apparently news to transport minister Terry Mulder however, who hasn’t made a single statement about the fiasco.

Sorry. Fiascoes.

Ignoring the ongoing infrastructure problems at Newport Station, the first major incident was on April 2nd, when a cable cut shut the line down during the evening commute for many hours.

“The high-voltage cable, which supplies power to the signalling system, has been buried for 25 years and appeared to have suffered a break.”

“That was little comfort for the passengers who were stuck on board the trains without food, unable to get off for hours on end. Thousands of other passengers were affected when trains on the Geelong line were cancelled throughout the evening.”

Not to rest on whatever ever laurels might have been earnt that night, just over a week later, the same cable failed again, shutting the line down for almost 24 hours.

Commuters were loud in their disdain:

“The State Government need to get involved now last week we were stuck for five hours on the train, people were pushing the emergency buttons so much they ended up turning them off.”

“The lateness of the trains is an issue for me and getting into work late, they always say it’s a signal faults but I don’t know what that means.”

Of course, you would expect the opposition to jump on such a debacle, and transport spokesperson Fiona Richardson chimed in with this pearler:

“The contempt that the Liberal Government has shown to commuters on the Geelong line by failing to acknowledge that there is even a problem is disgraceful.”

Of course the problem is, the state opposition have absolutely no right to complain about the state of Victoria’s public transport infrastructure, as it was thoroughly neglected by them throughout the eleven years they were in office prior to the Baillieu Government coming to power.

Richardson’s statement is empty political rhetoric, though she is correct about one thing – the lack of comment from Mr Mulder’s office.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

As of writing, there is not a single press release on the matter on Mulder’s press release website, and it has been almost a month since the first of the two major incidents on April 2nd.

Of course, the apparently crappy power cable isn’t the only ongoing issue affecting the Geelong line, and I have previously written about the obvious infrastructure issues at Newport.

As I discussed in that article from several weeks before, I sought comment from Mulder’s office about what Geelong – (and Werribee and Williamstown) – line commuters could expect to be done about this issue. The response was:

“Thank you for your email addressed to the Hon Terry Mulder MP, Minister for Public Transport and Minister for Roads, concerning the above. I wish to advise that a response will be forwarded in the near future.”

Almost two months later, and no response has been received.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

I’ve even politely reminded his office of their promise of a statement in the “near future”, to which I’ve received no response at all.

Transport failures were a major factor as to why the former Brumby Government was ousted in Victoria, with Mulder promising in opposition to fix the problems. He has even declared recently that “the buck stops” with him.

Terry, we want our dollar back, okay?

We appreciate and accept that things go wrong from time to time – but when the same things happen over and over again, and nothing ever gets done about them, and you say nothing about them, you look like an ass.

Pull your finger out of that ass and tell us what you’re going to do – at the moment your conduct is worse than the succession of ALP transport ministers that came before you.

They did nothing – but at least they told us what they wanted, but wouldn’t ultimately do for transport in Victoria.

Your silence is deafening.